Author Topic: First Scenes to New Drama Pilot  (Read 1493 times)

Offline Jackson_Leigh

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First Scenes to New Drama Pilot
« on: September 10, 2013, 04:33:54 PM »
Simmons Files (Working Title)

Plot: After a failed abortion, Morgan Bennett is found to have ben brutally murdered. Samuel Simmons, the last person to have connections with Morgan before her death, waits on trial as he is convicted of her murder. Everything leads back to him although he pleads to be non-guilty. A bigger picture comes into play as the jury and court try to figure out if this is about a brutal murder or a thought out suicide and why or if Samuel had anything to do with it.

INT. COURTROOM - DAY


 A court case is in motion.


LAWYER

Members of the Jury, this is a case about the impossible.


This is LAWYER ROBERT BURNS - EARLY 30s, KNOWS HIS JOB INSIDE AND OUT, DOES EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER TO WIN ALL OF HIS CASES.


SAMUEL SIMMONS is seen on the witness stand. Emotionless, with bags under his eyes.


ROBERT BURNS (CONTíD)

Now, you are here today because SAMUEL SIMMONS has been wrongfully accused of the murder of MORGAN BENNETT.


A picture of MORGAN BENNETT brutally murdered with blood stains all over her face is displayed in the middle of the courtroom for all to see.


The Jury is seen paying close attention to each and every word. Keeping a close account of the facts and less about emotion.


ROBERT BURNS

But today, the facts and evidence will show that SAMUEL SIMMONS is not guilty, because it is simply impossible.


The PROSECUTOR shifts in his seat, checking his notes for the case.

ROBERT BURNS

SAMUEL SIMMONS has attended Holland University, the same University of the deceased. You will learn that he has not had a perfect record, hasnít always made the best grades, and wasnít always an honest student. 


SAMUEL SIMMONS is on the verge of the uneasiness in his stomach. He knows he is gonna be sick.


 ROBERT BURNS

But times change, situations change, and SAMUEL SIMMONS has changed. By the time of Senior year, his inappropriate behavior, his anger, and drinking problems seemed to ease or not exist at all.


THE JUDGE is all ears taking in all the information.


ROBERT BURNS

But something went wrong.


THE PROSECUTOR is taking notes, as she prepares her opening statement.


ROBERT BURNS

On the night of October 21, 1997 he was arrested and wrongfully accused of the disappearance and murder of MORGAN BENNETT.


A quick flash to MORGANís mother as she holds back the tears in her eyes.


ROBERT BURNS

At approximately 9:30 pm, was my defendant put behind bars, only a week after he had stated that he was going to change, a change that would make him a better person.


The juryís eyes follow each body movement, paying attention to the body language.


ROBERT BURNS

So let the evidence show that my defendant is innocent, to prove that he had committed no such crime. Let the evidence hold the truth to this case.


CUT TO:


EXT. HOLLAND UNIVERSITY - NIGHT - OCTOBER 10, 1997


A peaceful and quiet university on the outskirts of town. A calm breeze moves in from the west. Crickets can be heard in the distance. Students are seen making a late walk from the library only to return to their dorms inside.


INT. DORM - NIGHT - SAME

Two teenagers are seen sitting on the edge of a bed within the dorm. They are deep in conversation. One appears to be SAMUEL SIMMONS - 19 YEARS OLD, A TEENAGER WITH A COMPLICATED PAST THAT SOMETIMES TAKES CONTROL OVER HIM, BUT CARES ABOUT THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM. And the other being MORGAN BENNETT - 19 YEARS OLD - A MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL GIRL THAN FROM THE PICTURE SHOWN IN THE COURTROOM, SHE IS INTELLIGENT BUT MAY NOT ALWAYS USE HER HEAD IN SITUATIONS.


SAMUEL

You still havenít gotten over Tyler have you?


MORGAN

He understood me.


SAMUEL

Friends understand you, Tyler was a douche that just try to take advantage of you.


MORGAN

And how would you know that, maybe I wanted to let him in, just maybe I wanted him to make me happy.


SAMUEL

After what he did you? He was no good for you Morgan, why canít you see that?


MORGAN

See what? See that I tried to get some happiness in this life. That I tried be with someone who cared. But I wouldnít expect  you to understand that with your outstanding charm and life.


SAMUEL

You think all of my life has been good to me.


MORGAN is over strucken with a mixture of anger and sadness.


SAMUEL (CONTíD)

You think that I havenít had my own share of heartbreak, that I havenít experienced sadness in my own life.


MORGAN

Youíve always had your life handed to you on a silver platter, never once did you care about the feelings of the people around you.


SAMUEL

Never cared? Morgan Iíve done everything in my power to look after you.


MORGAN

Then why didnít you just let me be happy?


SAMUEL

Thatís the problem with you, you canít let go of the past, you are afraid of change. When Tyler walked out on you, you didnít know what to do with yourself.


MORGAN turns her head as if she doesnít want to hear the rest of what he has to say. SAMUEL pulls her head back.


SAMUEL

No, you listen to me. You never once let people try to help you. Even your own family couldnít help you. Iím scared for you Morgan.


MORGAN

Stop it.


SAMUEL

You think that being stubborn will keep everything from changing, that you can still be a little innocent girl, that no harm can come to.


MORGAN begins to cry.



SAMUEL

Well let me tell you, itís a hard and cruel life out there, and youíre not going to make it. Itís going to hit you hard, like a ton of bricks, is it gonna hit you hard, unless you pop that safety bubble of yourís and accept the change in life for what it is.


MORGAN begins to sob.


MORGAN

I donít know what to do. I canít let go of him.


SAMUEL

Heís done forgot about you, havenít you realized that. Heís not here for you, he never was.


MORGAN

Why donít you just leave me alone. Just leave me here to work it out for my own self. 



SAMUEL

Youíre gonna listen to me, Iím the one that is here for you, the world is going to keep changing, and itís not going to wait on you. You got to make the change for yourself. Ain't no one gonna do it for you.


MORGANís crying begins to get worse.


MORGAN

Without Tyler I donít know how --


SAMUEL

Will you stop it with this Tyler trash, you made yourself believe that he cared, that he wanted the best for you, you made him into something that he wasnít.


MORGAN

He was here for me, he was!


SAMUEL

And where is he now?


MORGANís eyes go blank, he face loses emotion.


SAMUEL (CONTíD)

Thatís what I thought. Heís probably thrown his charm on another poor innocent girl out there. Just like he has done with you.


MORGAN tries to wipe the tears from her eyes, as she leans her head on SAMUELís shoulder.


SAMUEL

Donít you understand, this is your chance?


MORGAN

My chance?


She lifts her head up, and stares into SAMUELís eyes.


SAMUEL

Your chance to to stop avoiding life, stop holding yourself back. Things are gonna change, you gotta accept that and sometimes the pain that comes with it. Go out and live your life. Take it as it comes.


MORGAN

You think so?


A brief smile comes to SAMUELís face.


SAMUEL

I know so, enjoy life, and forget about everything, forget about Tyler, and put it all behind you.


MORGAN

Just for me to change like that.


SAMUEL

Try it, it will do you some good.


MORGAN is trying to hold herself together.


MORGAN

I donít know, just putting myself out in the world like that and accept what gets thrown in my face.


SAMUEL

Will you just for once listen to yourself, it is not all bad, and believe it or not I will be here for you.


MORGAN

Saying that is one thing, but something Iíd like to see. You are always running at the very next thing that comes your way.


SAMUEL

And havenít I always came back? Back to the people I care about.


MORGAN

One of these days you wonít be. Youíll find something else, settle down somewhere and forget about what you left. Forget about everything, like you are telling me.


MORGAN canít hold herself together, but she is trying. 


SAMUEL

Will you stop putting yourself down, look around, you are never gonna get anything, sitting around and sobbing your eyes out.


MORGAN

I just - I just donít think I can do it. I wonít be able to do it!


MORGAN is breaking as her face begins to show it. SAMUEL takes a hold of MORGAN by her shoulders.


SAMUEL

Maybe there is no hope. There is no hope for you to change.


SAMUEL gets to his feet and heads towards the door.


SAMUEL (CONTíD)

Youíll never change. I was stupid into thinking I could talk any sense into you.


MORGAN

So youíre just gonna walk out on me, like everyone else has done?


SAMUEL stands by the door, looking back at MORGAN, knowing there is no need to stay there any longer, he exits the room and slams the door behind him.
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hillwalker3000

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Re: First Scenes to New Drama Pilot
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 05:02:25 PM »
You say this is the opening scene to the drama. So the viewer won't be aware of the back-story about the failed abortion and the murder. So telling us all that at the start is pointless. Your script has to stand on its own two feet.

As for the script itself - it's in need of a major overhaul I'm afraid. The dialogue is mostly uninteresting. The court scene promises things but delivers nothing and the scene in the dorm with Sam and Morgan is a rather boring conversation about life and her ex. It's verbal ping-pong without the action and drama.

In terms of creating a conventional screenplay - you can't put in stuff like this:
This is LAWYER ROBERT BURNS - EARLY 30s, KNOWS HIS JOB INSIDE AND OUT, DOES EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER TO WIN ALL OF HIS CASES.
Will the lawyer be wearing a label on his jacket with this information printed on it for the viewer to read? If not, how is the cameraman/actor/director meant to convey this?
And if the lawyer is named Robert Burns use his name to identify him right from the opening line.

Similarly:
Keeping a close account of the facts and less about emotion.
or
The juryís eyes follow each body movement, paying attention to the body language.
Instructions or observations like this have no place in a screenplay. It's not the script-writer's job to tell the actors how to act.

And

SAMUEL SIMMONS is on the verge of the uneasiness in his stomach. He knows he is gonna be sick.
How do you expect this to be shown in the movie??? It's a physical impossibility.

At approximately 9:30 pm, was my defendant put behind bars, only a week after he had stated that he was going to change, a change that would make him a better person.
This piece of dialogue ^^^ makes no sense by the way.

A peaceful and quiet university on the outskirts of town. A calm breeze moves in from the west. Crickets can be heard in the distance. Students are seen making a late walk from the library only to return to their dorms inside.
Very pretty - but it's the director's job to set up the scene not the script-writer's.

One appears to be SAMUEL SIMMONS - 19 YEARS OLD, A TEENAGER WITH A COMPLICATED PAST THAT SOMETIMES TAKES CONTROL OVER HIM, BUT CARES ABOUT THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM. And the other being MORGAN BENNETT - 19 YEARS OLD - A MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL GIRL THAN FROM THE PICTURE SHOWN IN THE COURTROOM, SHE IS INTELLIGENT BUT MAY NOT ALWAYS USE HER HEAD IN SITUATIONS.
ALL the above ^^^ has to go. It's not a screen-play any longer.

Is it Samuel Simmons? Or does it appear to be him? What's the difference? Is he in disguise? Once the dialogue starts we will realise Samuel and Morgan are in the same room anyway.

Unfortunately, once they do begin talking to each other they have very little to say so it's a rather flat opening.

Would it encourage anyone to want to produce the movie? On the strength of this opening, sorry but no.

H3K

Offline Jackson_Leigh

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Re: First Scenes to New Drama Pilot
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2013, 05:09:01 PM »
Thanks for the comments. I'll keep all of this in mind and fix what is wrong with it. Maybe a back story of the abortion and murder would fit the opening better and give the audience a better understanding.
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Offline 2par

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Re: First Scenes to New Drama Pilot
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 09:38:30 PM »
Jackson, Hill is correct in his comments.
Your structure needs a good dose of research.

Forget the backstory. Bring out why they're there in the present. Your dialogue does not move the story forward. Tell us the story! Don't "tell" us what happened before and then fill the page with banal dialogue.
Remember - No directions to actor, director or cameraman.

Offline Jackson_Leigh

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Re: First Scenes to New Drama Pilot
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 09:45:16 PM »
Thanks, I think now I have a better image for the story and a way to move the story forward.
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